LFC Toronto had the privilege of watching this memorable game in the company of Anfield legend Robbie Fowler, thanks to a Carlsberg Canada event.
No wonder that our home pub of Elephant & Castle was packed solid on this Sunday, with a one-of-a-kind atmosphere throughout the entire place.
It was nicely fitting then that with the Toxteth Terror in our midst, the two Scousers in our team combined to open the score.
Down the right flank, Trent Alexander-Arnold whipped his trademark cross for Curtis Jones to volley-in with his left foot. We had not even played for 3 minutes and CuJo had scored his first goal of the season after a lengthy injury absence.
Liverpool were well and truly on a flying start as the Reds added a second goal merely 2 minutes later from another player who also made a recent comeback from long-term injury.
Luis Diaz prodded the ball into the net after a cutback from Cody Gakpo on the right. The Columbian emotional celebration would barely mask his relief of putting that injury nightmare behind him.
By the quarter of the hour, the encounter looked to have “game, set and match” already written all over it. Mo Salah fired a penalty down right in the middle after Cristian Romero had brought down Gakpo.
In Elephant & Castle, we couldn’t help chuckling at the sight of some Tottenham fans prematurely leaving the stadium. Come on, we are still at the 15 minutes mark! Maybe they had to rush and fill an early application for a refund, was the running joke.
On the pitch, Liverpool looked to be in supreme command of the proceedings. Why was that particular Liverpool missing earlier this season, we were asking ourselves…
Surprisingly, instead of going forward to try salvaging at least something, Spurs were more in damage limitation mode, similar to a team that would come to Anfield with not losing in mind.
Five defenders could be seen in their backline and Harry Kane more often deep in midfield instead on the shoulder of Liverpool’s last defender.
In the reverse fixture in November, we wrote that Spurs were known as the Comeback Kings and they showed it again at Anfield.
It was as if someone had flicked on a switch for the Londoners to radically turn the table. They became overwhelmingly more assertive to the point of seeding doubt in the minds of the Liverpool camp.
On the 39th minute, Virgil Van Dijk brilliantly blocked a shot from Son Heung-Min who just a fraction of a moment before, had an open goal mouth at his mercy.
The Londoners’ rediscovered aggressiveness paid off shortly after Son’s missed chance. An Ivan Perisic run down their left carved open Liverpool’s defence and an unmarked Harry Kane capitalized on the Croatian’s cross.
(Just wondering if those early leavers Spurs fans were now trying to scramble their way back).
The second half got under way as the first one ended in terms of run of play. Son and Romero hit each upright in the space of 30 seconds on the 54th minute.
That was to a be a harbinger of things to come.
On the 77th, Son received an over-the-top ball from Romero that by-passed the entire Liverpool defence. After having timed his run perfectly to beat the offside trap, Tottenham’s number 7 rushed toward Alisson and slotted the ball past the Brazilian.
Game on then and Spurs manager threw in one of our favourite pantomime villains, ex-Evertonian Richarlison for the remaining 5 minutes of normal time.
Not surprising that the Brazilian was greeted with a chorus of boos which in fact, led him to some wild celebrations soon after when his fortuitous header from a Son free-kick, rebounded on the ground and somehow lobbed Alisson to make it 3-3.
Of particular weirdness was Richarlinson’s shirtless mimicking of a strutting chicken.
Back in Toronto, Elephant & Castle was stunned into silence: how can a 3-0 lead in the first 15 minutes now looked like not ending into 3 points???
However, it was to be a short lived silence. One minute after Spurs had equalized, Lucas Moura misdirected a long Alisson clearance into the path of Diogo Jota who then slotted the ball past Fraser Forster in front of The Kop.
Cue absolute pandemonium. Richarlison’s chicken had come home to roost.
At that precise moment, we had absolutely no idea if the crowd had raised the roof at Anfield because on our end, we were raising the roof at Elephant & Castle.
Until the final whistle, it was impossible to hear whatever sound came out from the TV sets.
Elephant & Castle was in unison with Anfield, particularly so while cheering Jurgen Klopp’s fist pump celebrations with The Kop.
After the final whistle, Robbie Fowler jokingly observed that his most significant moment of the game was Richarlison’s first Premier League goal for Spurs. That was a 93rd minute equalizer and yet, his team still couldn’t get any point. Good one Robbie.
Liverpool supporters of a certain vintage would probably recall a similar insane match more than a quarter of a century ago.
This 4-3 win against Spurs had all the hallmarks of becoming an EPL classic, to be mentioned in the same breath as the two momentous 4-3 wins against Newcastle in consecutive seasons during the 1990s.
In March 1997, the second instalment of those “lightning does strike twice” games saw Newcastle staging another incredible comeback from 3-nil down and equalizing on the 88th minute.
But that was similarly for a short duration. Liverpool struck a last gasp win on the 90th with a goal from a certain… Robbie Fowler.
Again, it was nicely fitting to have “God” with us on this Sunday.